<![CDATA[NBC 7 San Diego - Top Stories]]> Copyright 2014 http://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/top-stories http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/KNSD+RSS+Feed+logo+blue.png NBC 7 San Diego http://www.nbcsandiego.com en-us Mon, 01 Sep 2014 01:01:49 -0700 Mon, 01 Sep 2014 01:01:49 -0700 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Attacker Pulls Woman Into Bushes ]]> Sun, 31 Aug 2014 14:18:59 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/la+jolla+village+dr.jpg

A man tried to assault a woman in a busy shopping area in University City, according to San Diego police.

Around 8:30 p.m. Saturday, a 21-year-old woman was walking in the 4500 block of La Jolla Village Drive, across the street from the Westfield UTC mall. That’s when a man grabbed her and pulled her into the bushes, police say.

Police say witnesses heard the woman’s screams and chased away the suspect before he was able to assault her.

Carmello Baviera, manager of P.F. Chang’s on La Jolla Village Drive, says he was surprised to hear about the attack because there are a lot of people walking in the area that time of night.

“We always tell our employees just to be safe to walk with somebody, but I’ve never heard of seen anyone being assaulted,” Baviera said.

The suspect had a mustache and was wearing a long sleeve shirt with black and white sleeves, black pants and a black baseball cap. Anyone with information should call the San Diego Police Department.

Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[Entire Car Slams Into Sandwich Shop]]> Sun, 31 Aug 2014 15:39:05 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/car+into+subway+1.jpg

A car plowed through a sandwich shop early Sunday morning, seriously injuring the driver and causing major damage to the building.

A driver ran a red light and crashed into Subway in the 1700 block of Euclid Ave. around 1:10 a.m., according to officials.

When police and paramedics arrived, they discovered a red Honda Civic completely inside the restaurant. The wall was blown out, and shattered glass covered the sidewalk.

An ambulance rushed the driver to Scripps Mercy Hospital. At last update, he was in critical condition. The restaurant was empty at the time of the accident, and no one else was injured.

Officials tell NBC 7 alcohol was not a factor in the crash.

There is no word on how much the damage will cost to repair.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 7 San Diego

<![CDATA[Flooding Closes Balboa Park Bridge]]> Sun, 31 Aug 2014 18:15:20 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/cabrillo+bridge+flooding.jpg

A water main break closed one of Balboa Park’s main thoroughfares during the busy Labor Day weekend.

The Cabrillo Bridge was closed for about 12 hours as crews repaired an air valve in El Prado, according the City of San Diego Public Utilities Department. The corroded air valve broke around 5 a.m. Sunday, flooding the iconic bridge with water.

“A 36-inch line is a very big pipeline, and it’s a lot of pressure. That’s why there was so much water that came out,” said Arian Collins, Supervising Public Information Officer with the utilities department.

At this point, officials don’t know how many gallons of water were lost. Nowhere in the park lost water, but some areas experienced low water pressure, Collins said.

The Cabrillo Bridge sidewalks remained open for pedestrians. Dogs and kids were spotted playing in the water.

The road reopened around 6 p.m. Sunday.

Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[Woman Sexually Assaulted While She Slept: SDPD]]> Sun, 31 Aug 2014 06:32:36 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/187062332.jpg

A San Diego woman was sexually assaulted while she slept Sunday morning, San Diego police say.

The attack was reported just after 3 a.m. at an apartment complex on Hancock Street, west of Interstate 5 and north of Washington Street.

A 25-year-old woman was sleeping in her bedroom when a strange man entered the unit through her front door, police said.

She told police she awoke to the man sexually assaulting her. Soon after, the man ran out of the front door and fled.

San Diego police sex crimes investigators are looking into the attack. The suspect was described as in his 20’s, 5-foot 7-inches tall, with a muscular build and wearing blue polo shirt and gray or denim shorts.

Anyone with information can call SDPD at (619) 531-2000 or (858) 484-3154.

Photo Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto]]>
<![CDATA[Lights Turn on in Chicano Park]]> Sun, 31 Aug 2014 07:25:19 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/11PS_PKG_CHICANO_PARK_L_KNSD4PBV_1200x675_323736131789.jpg

Barrio Logan residents gathered Saturday to celebrating the lighting of Chicano Park.

The park tucked underneath the San Diego Bay Bridge along Interstate 5 recently designated as an historic place, will now be lighted at night.

Victor Ochoa with the Barrio Art Association says the new lights will make the park more family friendly.

“We want to show a little bit of enlightenment that we are working professionally to make this place look more for la familia,” Ochoa said.

In March 2013, the park was listed on the National Register of Historic Places mainly because of the murals that were created at a time when the Chicano community was fighting for civil rights

The community is battling negative stereotypes, Ochoa said.

“This is something we've been dealing with for centuries. But we want to show a little bit of enlightenment,” he said.

More improvements are in the works. The community is working to add new restrooms to the park and a tiny tots play area.

I think it also shows the art can be one of those solutions, or part of the solution of some of those issues that we've got to be dealing with."

<![CDATA[1 Dead, 9 Injured in SoCal Crash ]]> Sun, 31 Aug 2014 20:47:42 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/160*128/LAgenerics+CHP+California+Highway+Patrol.jpg

A woman was killed and nine other people were injured a crash involving an overturned truck on the 5 Freeway in Castaic on Sunday.

The crash on the northbound 5 Freeway near Lake Hughes Road was reported around 2 p.m., according to the California Highway Patrol.

All northbound lanes were reopened after the crash shut down two lanes for hours.

Details of the crash were not being released.

The woman was pronounced dead at the scene.

An overturned truck blocked lanes after the collision involving three other vehicles.

A SigAlert was issued and the two right lanes of the freeway were expected to be closed for at least three hours for the crash investigation.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 7 San Diego

<![CDATA[Wife of Marine Killed in Hit And Run Calls For Justice]]> Sun, 31 Aug 2014 18:09:24 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/bizzarro+fundraiser.jpg

A grieving wife is calling for justice after losing her Marine sergeant husband in a hit and run crash in Oceanside.

Friends and family traveled to Murrieta early Sunday to hold a fundraiser in honor of 22-year-old Brandon Bizzarro.

Investigators say Bizzarro died when he was hit by a man driving a rented cargo van last Thursday.

If there's anything friends will remember most about Brandon Bizzarro, it would be his love of the Marine Corps and motorcycles.

“It would always be me and him riding on the bikes or whatever, enjoying it,” said Bizzarro’s best friend Shawn Segal. “Now, it's going to be a lot strange, I guess you can say that every time I go out now, I know he's not going to be riding out with me.”

Bizzarro was part of the Sinland Motorcycle Club. He was riding his bike to base when police say Ezequiel Garcia made an illegal U-Turn in front of him.

“I didn't find out Brandon had died until 7 o clock at night,” said Bizzarro’s wife Tamara Graham. “Brandon died at 16:39, which is 4:39, and my work is eight minutes away from the hospital. I was there and no one told me. I could've been there before he died.”

Police say Garcia was driving a rented box truck on an expired license and fled the scene.

“I want justice,” Graham said. “I want him to be punished for what he did."

Just days after the crash, Bizzarrro's motorcycle club and Marine brothers decided to wash cars and bikes in his memory to help his wife and his parents back home in Pennsylvania.

“They knew what kind of person he was,” said Bizzarro’s father, Joe, over the phone. "It says a lot about the people that surrounded him. There's a lot of people who wouldn't do something like that. I guess to us, they're family."

The Sinland Motorcycle Club plans to hold memorial ride in Bizzarro's honor in October. A fundraising website has been set up to raise money for his family.

Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[Florida Man Stabs Roommate 25 Times]]> Sun, 31 Aug 2014 23:42:19 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/samuel+dulavoix.jpg

A Pompano Beach man has been charged with second-degree murder after stabbing his roommate to death Saturday night, police said.

Broward Sheriff's Office deputies responded to a disturbance call at 3208 Marine Drive just after 9 p.m. Deputies said 22-year-old Samuel Dulavoix was covered in blood when he answered the door. Officers spotted a pile of bloody blankets on top of a body.

BSO has identified the victim as 39-year-old Rahmil Alexander. Dulavoix told homicide investigators that he and Alexander had been living together for about a year. He said they argued over money when Dulavoix stabbed the victim more than 25 times, police said. He later attempted to clean up the scene and conceal the body.

The Broward County Medical Examiner ruled the case a homicide at the scene and said Alexander died of multiple stab wounds.

Dulavoix was transported to a nearby hospital for treatment to superficial cuts on his hands before being released to authorities. He is being held without bond and faces a charge of second-degree murder. It is unknown if Dulavoix has an attorney.

Photo Credit: Broward Sheriff's Office]]>
<![CDATA[3 Hurt by Lightning at NYC Beach]]> Sun, 31 Aug 2014 20:22:51 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/lightning+strike+orchard+beach+clothing+shredded.jpg

Three people are hospitalized in New York City with injuries from a lightning strike as heavy thunderstorms swept the tri-state, authorities say. 

The men were hurt at Orchard Beach on Pelham Bay in the Bronx at about 5 p.m., and were being treated at Jacobi Medical Center, according to the FDNY. They did not appear to be seriously injured or physically burned. 

Telemundo identifies two of the victims as a father and son, 49 and 19 years old, who sought shelter under a tree during the storm. A friend of the family told the news station that the lightning hit the tree, then sent the men flying at least 10 feet. 

The friend showed the station photos of the victims' clothing that appeared to be shredded in parts from the lightning strike.

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Visitors at Orchard Beach said they weren't seriously concerned about the rain until they heard the thunder. 

"That crack of thunder and lightning came, and that's when everybody started to run away," said Cheryl Greenidge. 

Edgar Ayalla said he saw lightning hit either the beach or the water "like an explosion," and that debris was sent flying from that lightning strike. 

Elsewhere in the city, torrential rain, thunder and lightning interrupted Labor Day weekend celebrations, halted play at the U.S. Open tennis tournament in Queens and forced the early end to the Electric Zoo musical festival on Randall's Island. 

Traffic crawled on the Garden State Parkway in East Orange, where roads were flooded and emergency responders had to attend to a stranded driver, a traffic camera showed. 

Flooding on the Cross Bronx Expressway also caused long delays onto the George Washington Bridge. 

Kennedy, LaGuardia and Newark airports all reported long delays as a result of the storm.

Another round of thunderstorms is expected in the area by Monday. Labor Day will be otherwise hot and humid. 

The last area thunderstorm broke records on Long Island, where the town of Islip saw more than 13 inches of rain fall in a matter of hours on Aug. 14. 

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 7 San Diego

Photo Credit: Telemundo/NBC 4 New York]]>
<![CDATA[Homeless Man Beaten to Death]]> Sun, 31 Aug 2014 19:09:14 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/tlmd_police_tape_lights_generic_thumbnail.jpg

A homeless man in Chicago was beaten to death on the city’s Northwest Side Saturday night, police said.

The man was in an alley in the 1900 block of North Ridgeway Avenue in the city’s Logan Square neighborhood when two men exited a vehicle and began beating him, police said.

The men beat the victim’s head and body with their hands and feet, according to Chicago Police News Affairs Officer Jose Estrada.

The man was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital where he was pronounced dead, police said.

The Cook County Medical Examiner's office identified the man as 57-year-old Ernesto Garcia.

Police said the man appeared to be homeless.

"Regardless of whether he was homeless or not he's still human," said community activist Andrew Holmes. "A lot of these assaults that been taking place beating the homeless go unreported and the reason they go unreported is because they figure nobody cares, but we care, I care and we're just trying to find the individuals that beat this guy to death."

Holmes was patrolling the area Sunday afternoon hoping to find witnesses or see if surveillance cameras may have captured footage of the suspects.

"Each and every day someone is always picking on the homeless," Holmes said. "If they try to defend themselves they get jumped on, they get beat, they get assaulted... it shouldn't have gone this far."

Area residents say the attack was surprising for the community.

"It was so close to home," said Enrique Ruiz. "I thought nothing like this would happen around here."

Many in the area said Garcia frequently slept in the alley and was friendly those who lived nearby.

"People around here liked him," said resident George Bermudez. "He was really nice. I was shocked. I just said hi to him in the a.m., I didn't know someone I knew was going to die."

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 7 San Diego

<![CDATA[Photos Show Potential Suspect in 6th North Park Assault]]> Sun, 31 Aug 2014 11:21:51 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/North-Park-Suspect-0828.jpg

Two black and white photographs released by the San Diego Police Department late Friday night may just be the key to solving the latest assault case out of North Park.

On Thursday, at around 11:30 p.m., a woman was walking alone in an alley near Lincoln Avenue and Idaho Street when she was knocked to the ground by an unknown attacker and punched in the face, according to police.

She suffered significant injuries and lost consciousness before being transported to a local hospital.

Residents reported hearing the woman screaming.

“Me and my brothers heard a high-pitched scream outside, but we didn’t put much thought into it,” one teenage resident told NBC 7.

Now, detectives from the SDPD Sex Crimes unit have released two surveillance images of a person of interest seen walking in the area at the time of the assault. Police are hoping someone will recognize the man so they can track him down for questioning.

For now, the assault case – the sixth of its kind in the North Park community this summer – remains under investigation. Anyone with information on the case should contact Crime Stoppers at (888) 580-8477 or the SDPD Sex Crimes Unit at (619) 531-2210.

North Park resident Ofelia Cruz lives above the alley where the latest assault occurred. The news has her extremely worried for her own safety.

“I’m going to pay more attention to see around because it’s not safe anymore,” Cruz told NBC 7.

Due to the nature of the attack, location and time of day, detectives believe this sixth case may be related to the others.

The first assault in this series was reported on June 11, when a woman told police she was thrown to the ground by an attacker on 33rd Street. One week later, on June 17, another woman reported fighting off two assailants as she walked on Meade Avenue near 33rd Place around 11:30 p.m.

One June 21, a woman walking along Lincoln Avenue at 9:20 p.m. also reported that two men attempted to assault her. On June 24, a woman walking along Lincoln Avenue near Oregon Street was knocked unconscious after a suspect attacked her from behind.

Then, on July 20, yet another woman was knocked out while walking near the corner of Lincoln Avenue and Kansas Street around 1:20 a.m.

In an effort to catch the suspects involved in these violent, seemingly random attacks, police had previously released surveillance images and a composite sketch of a person of interest. The SDPD also said it had staffed more officers in the neighborhood to keep an eye on the streets.

Meanwhile, residents have organized rallies to send a message to the suspects and reclaim their community.

On Saturday, residents gathered for a meeting at the North Park Lions Club on Utah Street at noon to discuss possible long term solutions to help curb the violence.

One of the attendees was Kendra Smith, a woman who said she was the victim of a similar assault back in May almost at the very same spot as the latest case.

“I felt something behind me and I was lifted up off of my feet – I was in a chokehold. I was up in the air and I was being suffocated,” Smith recalled. “He then punched me on the side of the face with his other arm then dropped me to the ground, which is when he lost grip of his arm around my throat and I was able to start screaming. My phone fell down in front me I instantly called 911 and he ran away."

Smith said the attack left her nervous, but very alert.

“When I'm walking to the market or doing anything outside I'm always aware. It doesn't matter if its dark, light, dusk, whatever. It is hard," she said.

Smith said her attacker was different from the man in the newly-released surveillance photos.

SDPD Capt. David Nisleeit said the suspect or suspects are likely very familiar with the area.

“This person either lives in this area, works in this area or visits this area quite a bit. So I truly believe someone knows who this is,” said Nisleeit.

At the meeting, residents raised concerns about graffiti and lack of street lighting in the community, and how those factors might make North Park vulnerable to assaults.

For her part, Smith said she hopes to connect with other victims of violence.

“I'd like to meet with these other women because I've been proactive from day one since I was attacked and the last thing I want is more women to get attacked,” she said. “And yet, it still happens.”

Photo Credit: SDPD]]>
<![CDATA[It's Trevor's Time: Hoffman Joins Padres Hall of Fame]]> Sat, 30 Aug 2014 17:55:33 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/hoffmanp9.jpg

Retired San Diego Padres pitcher Trevor Hoffman closed a major milestone on Saturday: the ball player was inducted into the Padres Hall of Fame.

The iconic closer, No. 51, was inducted into the Padres Hall of Fame prior to the evening Padres game against the L.A. Dodgers at Petco Park.

One could say it was definitely Trevor's Time.

Fans will forever remember the excitement of Hoffman being summoned to the pitcher's mound to close a Padres game. His signature song, which always got fans on their feet, was AC/DC’s “Hells Bells” and his appearance on the diamond was referred to as "Trevor Time."

Hoffman, the Padres all-time saves leader, retired in January 2011, following a career that spanned 18 seasons, including 16 years with San Diego.

Over his 16 seasons with the Padres, Hoffman built a 54-64 record with 552 saves in 618 opportunities. His save percentage was .893. Hoffman also had a 2.76 ERA, .211 opponent batting average and 1,029 strikeouts in 902 relief appearances.

According to the team, Hoffman was elected unanimously into the Padres Hall of Fame by the San Diego Padres Hall of Fame committee.

He’s the ninth person inducted into the elite group, joining baseball icons Buzzie Bavasi, Nate Colbert, Jerry Coleman, Randy Jones, Ray Kroc, Dick Williams, Dave Winfield and, of course, the late and beloved “Mr. Padre,” Tony Gwynn.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[New East Village Eatery Joins Local Food Scene]]> Sun, 31 Aug 2014 08:49:38 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Bottega-Americano-SD.jpg

Downtown San Diego’s hip East Village neighborhood will welcome a new Italian eatery this weekend: Bottega Americano.

The highly-anticipated restaurant and marketplace will celebrate its grand opening at 7 a.m. Sunday at its new digs at 1195 Island Ave.

The $3 million restaurant is designed by Thomas Shoos, the creative mastermind behind popular San Diego eateries such as Searsucker, Herringbone and Puesto. According to a Bottega Americano spokesperson, the business will create nearly 100 new jobs for locals.

The eatery is spearheaded by San Diego restaurateurs Giuseppe Ciuffa, Chad Ruyle, Greg Van de Velde and Executive Chef David Warner.

The menu includes starters such as smashed ceci bean hummus and di stefano ricotta with honeycomb, both served with crostini. A variety of antipasti, fish, pastas and meats fill out the menu, and pizza rounds out the offerings. The location also boasts an extensive wine list, plus craft cocktails and beer.

To learn more about this latest addition to the San Diego food scene visit the restaurant website or Facebook page.

Photo Credit: Facebook]]>
<![CDATA[Baby Gorilla Crawling, Eating, Growing]]> Sat, 30 Aug 2014 10:26:00 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Joanne-Gorilla-Eating-1.jpg

Like an active, healthy little one, the San Diego Zoo Safari Park’s baby gorilla is growing by leaps and bounds, now sitting and eating on her own.

According to zookeepers, 5-month-old Joanne is as curious as can be these days. When she’s not riding on her mother Imani’s back, she spends time crawling and foraging.

Keepers said Joanne is alert and active, taking fewer naps throughout the day. She has also started sampling solid foods, mainly fruits and vegetables, now that she has about eight teeth with which to chow down.

Her favorite foods, by the way, are currently kale and grapes cut in half. She often watches her mother intently as she eats, mimicking those behaviors and picking up fruits and veggies of her own.

But, while she’s enjoying the tastiness of solids, keepers said the baby gorilla’s primary source of nutrition continues to be from nursing.

Little Joanne is also quite the roamer.

Safari Park keeper Jami Pawlowski said the gorilla is beginning to crawl away from her mother a bit, testing her limits.

"Imani always keeps her eye on her but Joanne is testing out her independence and seeing how far she can get," Pawlowski explained. “We’re seeing Joanne be more and more active.”

Keepers said Joanne shares her habitat with seven other gorillas, including 3-year-old Monroe and 6-year-old Frank. Although Imani remains very protective of her baby, the mother will sometimes let Frank hold Joanne. Monroe often tries to play with the baby, poking and peering at Joanne before running away.

Joanne was born at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park on March 12 via rare emergency C-section. Two days later, she suffered a collapsed lung and had to undergo treatment. She received around-the-clock care until she made a full recovery.

Since then, she’s been growing stronger by the day, getting to know other members of the gorilla troop and sharing important bonding time with her mother.

Joanne – named in honor of Joanne Warren, the first chairwoman of the Foundation of San Diego Zoo Global – was Imani’s first baby and the 17th gorilla to be born at Safari Park. The facility currently houses eight gorillas. Two male gorillas in the troop, Monroe and Frank, were also born in San Diego in 2011 and 2008, respectively.

Photo Credit: Tammy Spratt]]>
<![CDATA[Driver in Deadly Hit-and-Run Has Expired License: Clerk]]> Fri, 29 Aug 2014 21:22:06 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/oceanside+marine+hit+and+run+crash+082814.jpg

The driver in an Oceanside hit-and-run crash that killed an active-duty Marine should not have been behind the wheel, a rental car clerk told NBC 7.

Ezequiel Garcia, 30, was driving a rented cargo van on an expired license during the fatal crash, according to a employee at Budget Car and Truck Rentals.

Oceanside Police say Thursday morning, Garcia pulled out of parking lot and tried to make an illegal U-turn onto Douglas Drive. But as he turned, he collided with a motorcycle driven by 22-year-old Marine Brandon Bizzarro.

"It's just...it was horrid, it was just terrible,” said Kim Campos, who drove up to the crash after Bizzarro was airlifted away.

Garcia immediately took off from the scene, investigators say, and tried to return the van to Budget Rentals a few miles away.

The clerk told NBC 7 Garcia came in “panicked” and said, “Somebody just hit me.”

The vehicle had been rented to a woman because Garcia’s license was expired, so he was not supposed to be driving it, the employee said.

She advised him to go back to the scene, which he did. Police took him to their headquarters and subsequently booked him into jail for felony hit-and-run.

He will be arraigned on the charge Tuesday.

"Had he not left the scene, in all likelihood, he would not have been charged with hit and run,” said OPD Lt. Leonard Cosby. “The law requires you to stay in the event of an injury to check on the welfare of the driver to exchange information. He did not do that."

Bizzarro was placed on life support when he arrived at the hospital, but by Thursday afternoon, he had died.

Campos said she knew something serious had happened, based on the aftermath.

"I could tell just by all the glass and stuff that was on the road and the way that motorcycle was facing the opposite way, so I just didn't know it was a Marine at the time, and then when I found out, it really touched my heart,” she said.

Photo Credit: Artie Ojeda]]>
<![CDATA[Video at Napa Train Yard Shows Violent Shaking from Quake]]> Sun, 31 Aug 2014 11:05:32 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/0829-2014-NapaTrain.jpg

New video taken from cameras at the yard that houses the Napa Valley Wine Train shows how strong the quake was felt in the area.

The video shows trains shaking violently on the tracks, while transformers explode in the background. The quake forced the popular tourist train to be shut down last Sunday and Monday.

The train, tracks, bridges and trestles all passed inspection and the service has since re-opened.

Photo Credit: Napa Valley Wine Train]]>
<![CDATA[Preview: Del Mar’s First Fall Racing Season]]> Tue, 26 Aug 2014 14:05:16 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Del-Mar-Races-Blurb-5326410.jpg

Summer horse racing season in Del Mar wraps up next week but the surf will meet the turf once again this fall when the race track welcomes its inaugural fall racing season.

For the first time ever, the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club will open its seaside track for a new horse racing stretch dubbed “Bing Crosby Season,” which runs Nov. 7 through Nov. 30.

Like its summer counterpart, the short racing season will keep the good times rolling with eight races each day plus other events, including an Opening Day celebration and live musical performances.

Entertainment includes a Reggae Fest with Iration on Nov. 15 and a concert featuring the band CAKE on the Seaside Stage west of the Grandstand on Nov. 29. On Nov. 22, foodies can sample some gourmet meals on wheels with a special food truck event and a blanket giveaway.

On Nov. 29, visitors can also enjoy a craft beer festival, a Movember event and the biggest race of the meet: the Hollywood Derby.

Races are scheduled over the course of 15 days, mainly Thursday through Sunday, with earlier post times of 12:30 p.m. on weekdays and 12 p.m. on weekends. On Thanksgiving Day (Nov. 27), the first post is slated for 11 a.m. There are no live races Monday through Wednesday.

On Sundays, football fans can multitask and take in both racing and football simultaneously at Del Mar’s Cabana Football Lounge, a cool space that includes TVs, bars and food options.

According to organizers, this additional second season at the track pays tribute to the Hollywood glamour of the 1930s when the iconic Bing Crosby founded the track with his celebrity pals.

To that end, Opening day will kick off with a Gatsby-style celebration that includes guests in their finest fall threads and an “Old Hollywood Fashion Contest” that includes awards for Best Dressed Couple, Best Old Hollywood and Best Celebrity Lookalike.

Fall racing admission is $6 per person daily and $3 for Diamond Club members.

As for freebies, every Friday – with the exception of Opening Day – is free for Diamond Club members and includes admission, a program and half-priced beer, sodas and hot dogs.
Closing Day (Nov. 30) is free to all in Del Mar.

To check out the full calendar of races and events for the Bing Crosby Season, click here.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Master Sand Sculpting Action in San Diego]]> Sat, 30 Aug 2014 13:03:06 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Sand-Sculpt-2014-5.jpg

Professional sand sculptors from all over the world will compete in San Diego this Labor Day weekend, carefully carving sand and meticulously making masterpieces for all to enjoy.

The U.S. Sand Sculpting Challenge & 3D Art Expo will be held Friday through Monday on B Street Pier at 1140 N. Harbor Drive. Organizers say artists will create 23 elaborate sculptures out of sand for a shot to win a $60,000 grand prize and, of course, serious bragging rights.

One of the sculptors going for the big win is John Gowdy, a retired firefighter originally from Atlantic City, New Jersey, but now living in Italy.

Gowdy said he traveled to San Diego to partake in some friendly competition and showcase his work. He spends his retired days traveling and carving sand on the beaches of the world.

“I’m here to have fun. We’ve got the best in the world here, the best sand sculptures here. We’re all friends while we create art,” he told NBC 7.

Gowdy said his sculpture will depict an action-packed lifeguard rescue scene, complete with lifeguards cutting through a wave on a boat while saving a swimmer.

Although master sand sculptors like Gowdy may make the art form look easy, it’s anything but a day on the beach.

Gowdy said the craft is a “mixture of sport and art,” which can get strenuous at times, especially when trying to mix the perfect combination of sand and water and packing the sand tightly enough to carve.

“Compaction. That’s what it’s all about. Compaction and practice,” said Gowdy.

Dan Gutowski, a local artist from Imperial Beach, is also participating in the event. He’ll be helping Foster Farms with their company sculpture, an interactive installation featuring a couple of “crazy chickens.”

Though confident in his sand skills, Gutowski knows he’s going head-to-head with the best of the best.

“There are going to be the most amazing sculptures here this weekend,” he said.

Event organizers expect approximately 50,000 visitors to pass through the Sand Sculpting Challenge throughout the long weekend. The event, which also supports kids’ arts education charities, will include live entertainment, kids’ rides and activities, 12 gourmet food trucks and a beer and wine garden.

Additional contestants hail from all over the globe, including Washington, Key West, Canada, Singapore, Italy, the Netherlands and Latvia – the home country of Sandis Kondrats, last year’s grand prize winner and reigning champ.

Tickets to the competition cost $10 for adults and $7 for kids and seniors. All active-duty military with an I.D. get in free with up to three family members. The event runs from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily.

For more information, including the daily schedule, visit the event website.

Photo Credit: NBC 7 San Diego]]>
<![CDATA[4 Family Members Found Dead]]> Sun, 31 Aug 2014 19:44:53 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/216*120/elmhurst+2.jpg

Several family members were found dead in a home in west suburban Elmhurst Saturday, police said.

Few details were released surrounding the deaths, but police at a news conference Saturday said officers were conducting a well-being check at a home in the 600 block of Chatam just before 7 p.m. when they discovered "several family members" dead inside the home. 

Police said two men and two women were found with visible gunshot wounds.

Joan Stack and Francis Stack, both 82, Francis Stack, Jr., 48, and Mary Stack, 57 were killed, officials said.

The DuPage County Coroner's office, citing preliminary information Sunday, said all victims were shot in the head. Fancis Stack's shooting was suicide and the three other victims were murdered, officials said.

Police said a weapon was recovered from the scene.

According to authorities, a death investigation is ongoing.

Longtime neighbor Pete Sterchele said the victims were an elderly couple and their two disabled children.

"[Frank] was in a very difficult situation," said Sterchele. "Two severely handicapped children, his wife with cancer and rheumatoid arthritis. She was bed-ridden, the children had to be looked over 24 hours a day and Frank was losing mobility."

Police do not believe there is any immediate threat to the community, according to Elmhurst Police Chief Michael Ruth.

Neighbors told NBC Chicago they saw armed police officers approaching the home Saturday evening.

Many in the community were shocked by the incident.

"They were great people," said neighbor Al Watson. "I mean if you had a problem you come over talk to [Frank] he could help you with about anything."

The Detective Section of the Elmhurst Police Department is investigating the incident, police said.

<![CDATA[Former Staffers Blamed for Break-In at DeMaio Office: Source]]> Sun, 31 Aug 2014 09:32:14 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/demaio+campaign+office+vandalism.jpg

Two former staff members are being blamed for a May break-in at Republican congressional candidate Carl DeMaio’s San Diego campaign headquarters, a source close to the investigation told NBC 7.

Computer screens were smashed, cords and cables were cut, gas cards were stolen and water was poured over laptops, printers and copiers at the Miramar office on May 28, six days before the primary election.

The source says before the burglary and vandalism, two DeMaio staffers were terminated for taking proprietary information from the campaign.

Victims identified those staff members as potential suspects early in the police investigation, said SDPD’s Lt. Kevin Mayer, and the two have cooperated with detectives.

Mayer did confirm the burglary did occur, but at this point, officials have not developed enough probable cause to identify a suspect.

He expects the case will be turned over to the District Attorney’s office within the next couple of weeks, at which point they will decide whether to file charges and make an arrest.

"We were outraged by the damage done to the campaign during this break-in and hope the individual responsible is held fully accountable for their actions,” Dave McCulloch, a spokesperson for the DeMaio campaign, said in a statement Friday.

This November, DeMaio will try to unseat incumbent Scott Peters in California's 52nd congressional district during the general election.

Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[Drunk Federal Agent Arrested]]> Sat, 30 Aug 2014 18:15:52 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/tlmd_police_generic_police_tape_police_lights_fishtown_722x406_2202385257.jpg

A drunken federal agent was arrested in Burbank after allegedly pulling out a handgun and telling someone to follow him early Wednesday.

Officers responded to a report of a person brandishing a gun around 12:30 a.m. in the 300 block of East Santa Anita Avenue, according to a news release from the Burbank Police Department.

The victim told police that they were ordered by a “very” intoxicated man armed with a gun to follow him. After following the man for a short period, the victim ran away and was able to escape, officials said.

Police searched the area and found Andrew Leconte around 1 a.m. near San Fernando Boulevard and Angeleno Avenue, less than one mile away.

Investigators later learned that Leconte is an agent with the United States Marshals Service.

Leconte was arrested on suspicion of kidnapping and brandishing a firearm, police said. Burbank police were investigating the incident.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 7 San Diego

Photo Credit: NBC Chicago]]>
<![CDATA[Man Robs 2 Banks Back-to-Back]]> Sat, 30 Aug 2014 18:27:21 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Dual-Bank-Robbery.jpg

A lone suspect may have been responsible for two back-to-back robberies at two different banks in the same Mira Mesa shopping center Saturday, officials said.

According to San Diego police, the robberies happened within minutes of each other, just before 12:30 p.m. One was at a North Island Credit Union at 9420 Mira Mesa Blvd., while the other was at a U.S. Bank at 9400 Mira Mesa Blvd. The banks are in the same shopping center, separated only by a small parking lot.

Police said an unknown man entered the North Island Credit Union first, approached a teller and verbally demanded cash. After receiving some money, he left the bank and popped into the U.S. Bank across the way, using the same strategy.

The man then fled the area on foot and was last seen heading westbound on Mira Mesa Blvd., police said.

No demand note or weapon was used in the robberies. Officer did not immediately locate the suspect. For now, the man is only described as 5-foot-6 with a heavy build. He wore a light grey hoodie, black hat and white gloves.

Though the robberies are under investigation, police are fairly certain the same suspect is responsible for both.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 7 San Diego

Photo Credit: NBC 7 San Diego]]>
<![CDATA[FBI Seeks Mole Boy Bank Bandit]]> Sat, 30 Aug 2014 15:50:12 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Bank-Bandit-Mole-Boy.jpg Suspects in area bank robberies - caught in the act on camera.

Photo Credit: FBI]]>
<![CDATA[Festival of Sail Returns]]> Sat, 30 Aug 2014 14:31:18 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/StarofIndia-Garske.jpg

The waters of San Diego Bay will be filled with tall ships this holiday weekend as the annual Festival of Sail cruises into the North Embarcadero area.

The largest tall ship fest on the West Coast – hosted by the Maritime Museum of San Diego – sets sail beginning Friday at 9 a.m. and runs through Labor Day.

The nautical action begins with a tall ship parade Thursday that includes cannon fire salutes as the ships dock. Throughout the weekend, the agenda includes visits aboard the ships, a petting zoo, activities for kids, hundreds of arts and crafts vendors, a beer garden, food vendors and photo opportunities with pirates.

More than 20 tall ships are participating in this year’s event. This includes the 139-foot “America” vessel, the 145-foot “Californian” and, of course, San Diego’s iconic, 278-foot Star of India, which holds the distinctive title of the oldest active ship in the world.

Tickets to the Festival of Sail cost $7 per person and can be purchased online. Additional boating activity tickets, including tickets to the midday sail or cannon battle, are available at the boating booth just north of the Berkeley Ferry Boat on the Embarcadero.

Also important to note: road closures for the event include Harbor Drive and one southbound lane between Grape and Ash streets, which will be used as a pedestrian path to accommodate visitors, so plan your trek to the fest accordingly.

For more details, visit the event website.

Photo Credit: Monica Garske]]>
<![CDATA[Tall Ships Cruise in For Festival of Sail]]> Sat, 30 Aug 2014 14:36:11 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Fest-of-Sail-2014-5.jpg Tall ships have taken over the waters of North Embarcadero for the annual San Diego Festival of Sail. The event runs through Labor Day.

Photo Credit: NBC 7 San Diego]]>
<![CDATA[Why You Should Buy Renter's Insurance]]> Sat, 30 Aug 2014 10:25:33 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Renting-Bob-Hansen.jpg

Renters are not protected by their landlords. If there is a theft, a fire or smoke damage, the landlord's insurance does not pay for the renter's belongings. For that, a renter must have their own insurance, which is why renter's insurance is so important.

"If there was a fire, if there was water damage, I just want to make sure I don't have to worry about it," said Bliss Allen.

Allen lives in Rancho Penasquitos with her husband and two young boys. They have rented for nearly five years and have always had renter's insurance.

"It is so inexpensive," said Bliss. "And the peace of mind is definitely worth it."

Renter's insurance generally costs between $10 and $20 a year depending on how much coverage is necessary. The deductible is often around $500. That coverage is important whether you're a family of six renting a home or a single student living in a studio apartment.

State Farm agent Walt Waggener says the best place to start shopping for insurance is with the company that insures your car.

"It may drop your auto insurance premium if you purchase a renter's policy," said Waggener. The agent says it is important to make sure your policy covers replacement value not just the value of items at the time of the loss.

Allen says it has been worth the peace of mind.

"Thankfully we've never had to use it but I definitely think it is worth it," she added.

Photo Credit: Bob Hansen]]>
<![CDATA[San Diego Chargers Drop 22 Players]]> Sat, 30 Aug 2014 13:25:38 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/215*120/chargers+generic.jpg

As part of final-cut day, the San Diego Chargers released 22 players on Saturday in an effort to reach the NFL’s 53-man roster limit.

In the routine step toward the start football season, the team announced the following players had been cut from the Bolts:

  • (LB) Victor Aiyewa
  • (DT) Chas Alecxih
  • (WR) Torrence Allen
  • (WR) Vincent Brown*
  • (CB) Crezdon Butler
  • (S) Alden Darby
  • (CB) Greg Ducre
  • (TE) Mike Flacco
  • (T) Mike Harris
  • (WR) Javontee Herndon
  • (LB) Thomas Keiser
  • (DE) Joe Kruger
  • (LB) Cordarro Law
  • (S) Adrian Phillips
  • (WR) Tevin Reese
  • (T) Jeremiah Sirles
  • (QB) Brad Sorensen
  • (LB) Colton Underwood
  • (G) Craig Watts
  • (G-T) Kenny Wiggins
  • (C-G) Khalil Wilkes
  • (DE) Doug Worthington

The Chargers said that if Brown clears waivers, he will be placed on the team’s Reserve-Injured list with a calf injury. Earlier this week, the team trimmed their roster by releasing another 11 players.

The NFL season officially kicks off Thursday. The Chargers play their first game of the season on Sept. 8 against the Cardinals.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[2014 U.S. Sand Sculpting Challenge ]]> Sun, 31 Aug 2014 11:35:08 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Sand-Sculpt-2014-5.jpg Showcasing their careful carving techniques and attention to detail, professional sand sculptors from all over the world will compete in San Diego over Labor Day weekend at the U.S. Sand Sculpting Challenge & 3D Art Expo on B Street Pier. Organizers say artists will create 23 elaborate sculptures out of sand for a shot to win a $60,000 grand prize.

Photo Credit: NBC 7 San Diego]]>
<![CDATA[Accused Nurse Showed Friend Baby's Room]]> Sat, 30 Aug 2014 10:22:35 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Michael-Lutts-Folo-crop.jpg

A longtime friend of a San Diego nurse accused of molesting a 2-month-old foster child said she visited the suspect at his home before the graphic allegations came to light and he even showed her the nursery he had set up for his new baby.

Michael William Lutts, 50, a pediatric nurse working at Kaiser Permanente in San Diego, allegedly sexually abused a foster child in his care, recording the crimes on camera, according to a complaint filed by the FBI Wednesday.

He’s accused of beginning the lewd acts on Aug. 4 – the very same day he received custody of the prematurely born baby. According to graphic details in court documents, the alleged abuse included Lutts touching and manipulating the baby boy’s genitals while masturbating, among other things.

Lisa Rosenfeld and her family have known Lutts for the past 20 years.

She said Lutts once worked with her sister caring for children with autism. Rosenfeld’s father was also Lutts’ landlord, renting him an apartment for many years.

On Friday, Rosenfeld told NBC 7 she was completely shocked and disturbed by the accusations of child molestation against Lutts.

She said she had recently visited Lutts at his new home where he showed her the room he had prepared for his incoming foster child.

“I had gone to see him at his new house and he showed me the room he had all set up because he was going to adopt a baby boy,” Rosenfeld recalled. “The room was set up beautiful – all set up for a baby boy.”

Rosenfeld said Lutts mentioned he “had to do a lot of stuff to show he was a proper parent” prior to becoming a foster father.

She said she never imagined Lutts would soon be charged with the molestation of the baby boy.

“I was shocked to hear this, like, ‘Oh my God.’ Totally shocked; it’s not acceptable. Nobody should do that to a baby,” she said. “I never dreamed he would do something like that to a baby.”

Rosenfeld said she saw no signs that Lutts might commit these alleged crimes.

While he was a tenant at her father’s apartment, Rosenfeld said Lutts had no problems, always paid his rent on time and had lots of friends, all of whom were “age-appropriate.”

Given his job as a pediatric nurse and access to children, Rosenfeld said officials will have to thoroughly investigate just how far his interactions with young patients went. She also hopes investigators look at Lutts’ time working with children with autism to ensure there were no victims there.

Rosenfeld said that if Lutts is guilty of the sexual abuse, he should be in prison.

“That’s the kind of person that needs to be locked up. It doesn’t matter who it is – anybody that’s going to do harm to a baby. It’s a baby. That’s not acceptable,” she said.

“I never saw this coming. Wow. There’s nothing else you can say,” she added.

On Friday, Lutts appeared in federal court for a detention hearing with his head down, shackled at the waist. He did not speak and appeared sullen.

Through his attorney, he agreed to spend at least the next two weeks in jail without bond
Prosecutors could not comment on the case due to the ongoing investigation but did say Lutts may be indicted before his next court appearance, which is scheduled for Sept. 9.

Lutts was arrested Tuesday after the FBI raided his College Grove home. Investigators allegedly found thousands of photos and videos on his phone and computer depicting graphic sex acts with children, including his 2-month-old foster child.

According to court documents released this week, Lutts was also videotaped naked in his living room with the baby near him while he performed lewd acts on himself. Pictures show the hospital tag was still attached to the infant’s leg.

FBI agents said the newborn can be heard crying through many of the videos. The abuse happened over the course of at least five days, according to investigators.

The 2-month-old victim has since been placed in the care of Child Protective Services.

On Thursday Kaiser Permanente said Lutts had been suspended from work and would not be returning until the investigation and criminal proceedings are completed.

The medical group's spokesperson said the hospital has had no indication from law enforcement that their patients were possible vicitms but its administration is working with authorities.

Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[1-Day Sentence for Driver in Deadly Firefighter Crash]]> Sat, 30 Aug 2014 11:09:32 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Wood-Steffey-0829.jpg

A woman who pleaded guilty to causing a head-on crash that killed an off-duty firefighter in Campo last year will only spend one day in jail, a San Diego judge ruled Friday.

Several months ago, Natasia Wood, 22, pleaded guilty to gross vehicular manslaughter in the death of U.S. Forest Service firefighter Darin Steffey, 37.

On Friday, Wood was ultimately ordered to spend one day at Las Colinas Detention Facility for the deadly crash and was given three years of probation and community service in what a judge called a "very terrible, tragic, one-time mistake."

Steffey's mother, Jill Reid, was overcome with emotion at Wood's sentencing. She spoke in court about everything Steffey's family will have to miss now that he's gone.

"It means no wedding celebration, no grandchildren to love, no family gatherings that we would be a cherished part of," said Reid.

The mother said she recently spent her son's birthday not celebrating with him, but rather visiting his gravesite at Miramar National Cemetery in "the most painful way imaginable."

Steffey's sister, Heather Steffey, also addressed the court, speaking about how her only sibling's death has forever changed her life.

“There is nothing in life that will ever be worse than losing my brother. He was my built-in best friend, family and support. [His death] has crippled my existence, left me almost hysterical and unable to deal with the things that I used to be able to deal with," she said. "It has broken my life.”

“I valued no person more on this Earth. That’s what you took from me," Heather added, holding back tears. "I wear my brother around my neck in an urn every day and sometimes hear his sweet voice joking around as we used to.”

Steffey's girlfriend, Jessica Raddatz, also spoke at the sentencing. She said she and Steffey had planned to get married and some day start a family. Since losing Steffey to the deadly crash, Raddatz said she's suffered from depression and PTSD, and still can't believe he's gone.

“My world no longer shines. There are days when I just lay on the couch. I may not have been on the back of that motorcycle but I may as well have been killed because [Wood] has killed me too,” Raddatz said, sobbing.

“The defendant killed a man. And it was so preventable,” a prosecutor told the court, speaking about the dangers of speeding.

According to police, Wood was driving at more than 70 mph – about 15 miles over the posted speed limit – when she lost control and veered into northbound traffic lanes on Buckman Springs Road on Oct. 3, 2013.

Wood’s vehicle collided head-on with Steffey, who was riding his motorcycle. He was killed in the accident.

Steffey, also a veteran of the U.S. Air Force and former hotshot firefighter, was on his way home from work at the time of the deadly crash.

The collision happened just a mile away from Steffey’s fire station. His colleagues were the first responders on scene.

Wood's father, Carlos Wood, also spoke at Friday's sentencing. He said his daughter had been unexpectedly called into work on the day of the accident, which may have played a role in how rushed she felt as she drove.

“I don’t justify speeding in any way, shape or form, but I believe this was an accident,” said Carlos.

The defendant's father said his daughter feels extreme guilt for causing the crash and "wakes up in the middle of the night screaming because of what she did."

Wood's attorney also told the court her client "regrets every day what she did, driving on that road too fast," and is truly sorry for taking Steffey from his family.

Since the accident, Steffey’s family, girlfriend and friends have been working to get justice for their loved one.

In January, Steffey’s mother spoke one-on-one with NBC 7 about her beloved son and urged others not to speed while driving.

Steffey's loved ones maintain a Facebook group that follows their fight for justice in this case.

Raddatz has also created a "Darin Steffey Roadside Memorial Fund," which collects donations to erect a permanent roadside memorial sign in Steffey's honor that will "remind others of the tragic consequences of reckless driving." To donate, click here.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 7 San Diego

Photo Credit: NBC 7 San Diego]]>
<![CDATA[Security Officers in Trolley Beating Video Fired ]]> Sat, 30 Aug 2014 10:25:05 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Raw_MTS_video_part_2_1200x675_321266243960.jpg

The two security officers caught on camera hitting and wrestling a man aboard a moving trolley have been fired, the Metropolitan Transit System announced Friday.

The unidentified guards worked for Transit Systems Security (TSS), a company contracted to enforce safety on MTS trolleys and buses.

On Aug. 18, the employees were recorded on MTS video beating a shirtless man named Felipe Vedoy.

Over the course of the ten-minute video, Vedoy enters the trolley at the Grossmont Trolley Station in La Mesa, the guards confront him and begin hitting him. They are later shown pulling out their batons and striking the man.

When the trolley stops at the 70th Street Station, the officers orders all passengers to get off. Vedoy is then escorted out of the car by three security guards. He was taken to the hospital for minor injuries.

MTS authorities say the day of the incident, they opened an internal excessive force investigation, which led to the guards’ termination. They also turned the video over to the La Mesa Police Department to decide if the security officers will face criminal charges.

“This incident never should have happened and we will take all appropriate steps internally and with TSS to help prevent future occurrences,” said MTS CEO Paul Jablonski in a statement. “We do not tolerate that kind of behavior.”

In addition to firing the guards, MTS officials say they and TSS will review and possibly revise all policies, procedures and training programs and ensure supervisors are reviewing security officers in the field.

Photo Credit: MTS]]>
<![CDATA[Woman in Golf Cart Killed on Private School Campus]]> Fri, 29 Aug 2014 21:15:30 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/El-Cajon-Golf-Cart_1.jpg

A woman was killed in a collision between a golf cart and a pickup truck on the campus of a private school in El Cajon.

The woman, described as in her 50’s, was fatally injured when the golf cart she was driving was struck by a pickup truck according to witnesses.

The identity of the victim was withheld pending notification of family.

The collision happened just before 11 a.m. at 2100 Greenfield Avenue on the campus of Christian Unified Schools. There are three schools on the property a high school, junior high and elementary school.

After colliding with the golf cart, the truck crashed into a nearby tree. The man behind the wheel, described as in his 50’s, was taken to a nearby hospital for minor injuries.

The cause of the crash is under investigation. El Cajon Police say alcohol or drugs do not appear to be factors.

Anyone with information regarding this collision is encouraged to contact the El Cajon Police Department Traffic Division at (619) 441-1645.

<![CDATA[West Nile Virus Cases Reported in East County]]> Sat, 30 Aug 2014 10:35:21 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/West+Nile+Virus2.jpg

Health officials believe two East County patients have contracted West Nile virus after they were both bitten by mosquitoes near their homes.

A 73-year-old La Mesa man has been hospitalized with a confirmed case of the virus, the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) reported Friday. He was admitted for an infection of the brain and its surrounding tissue – a problem resulting from West Nile.

A 44-year-old El Cajon woman received outpatient treatment for flu-like symptoms with a rash, and doctors say she probably had the disease as well.

The HHSA says four out of five people who contract the virus do not show symptoms, and 1 in 150 of those infected will have serious, potentially deadly neurological complications. The greatest risk is among people over 50 years old and those with weakened immune systems.

Less severe symptoms include headache, fever, swollen glands, nausea, skin rash and fatigue.

In July, a Santee man who showed no signs of the disease tested positive for it in a routine blood screening. His was the first confirmed, local case of West Nile since 2012.

Health officials recommend protecting yourself and your family using a three-step system: prevent, protect and report.

Prevent mosquito breeding by emptying any backyard item like pots, buckets or rain gutters that can hold stagnant water. Free mosquito fish can help control mosquito breeding in pools, ponds and fountains.

Protect yourself from mosquito bites by using insect repellent that contains DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or IR3535 when you’re spending time outside, and make sure all your screens are secure.

Finally, report dead crows, ravens, jays, hawks and owls, as well as green swimming pools, to the Vector Control Program at 858-694-2888. Dead birds could carry West Nile virus. At least three have tested positive for the disease in El Cajon.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Convict Charged in Mom, Kid Attack]]> Sat, 30 Aug 2014 08:45:40 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/pedro+vargas+inset.jpg

A man convicted of kidnapping and robbery in the 1990s was arrested for allegedly posing as a livery cab driver and assaulting a mother and two of her young children before hitting the youngest with the door of his fleeing car after driving them to a Queens homeless shelter, authorities say.

Pedro Vargas, 48, faces charges of misdemeanor assault, two counts of felony assault and three counts of endangering the welfare of a child after the alleged attacks outside the shelter that sits on the site of the former Pan Am Hotel in Elmhurst, prosecutors say.

Vargas, of Yonkers, was arrested late Thursday, four days after a man claiming to be a cab driver picked up a 26-year-old mother and her three kids -- ages 1, 3, and 5 -- and said he would drive them to the shelter. The man drove them around the back of the building and started to assault the family.

The attack was captured by surveillance cameras. Footage shows the man, allegedly Vargas, hurl the 3-year-old child from the back of the cab to the sidewalk, then elbow the 5-year-old, forcing her to the ground. Prosecutors allege the man then fought with the mother as she held her 1-year-old child in her arms, and the 1-year-old fell to the sidewalk. The man allegedly then got back into his car and sped off with the front passenger door still open; the car door hit the 1-year-old as the man drove away.

The children were taken to Elmhurst Hospital with minor injuries, including bruising and swelling. Their mother wasn't hurt. 

Vargas' attorney Howard Greenberg claimed the victim tried to "proposition" his client after she refused to pay the fare.

"He just wanted to get rid of her and them," he told reporters. "Some of it might have been a bit somewhat of an overreaction but there's no injuries to the children. So what's the crime?" 

Police say Vargas was arrested 12 times between 1984 and 1994, including on kidnapping and robbery charges in Manhattan and the Bronx. He served 18 years in jail on those charges. 

Vargas admitted in court he did not have a license to operate a taxi. 

-Lori Bordonaro contributed to this report

Photo Credit: NBC 4 New York]]>
<![CDATA[Napa Wineries Open for Labor Day]]> Sat, 30 Aug 2014 09:23:12 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/AP573502597763.jpg

Napa city leaders are hoping swarms of tourists will flock to wine country for the holiday Labor Day weekend – and spend money that was lost this week after Sunday’s earthquake.

Workers at Saintsbury’s Winery - which suffered many broken bottles - spent Friday morning picking up grapes and allowed the public to be part of the process. The winery's co-founder, David Graves, said reservations this weekend are solid.

"We have had a few cancellations, but I think people realize Napa is open for business," he said.

While some of Napa is open for business, several blocks of the downtown area remain fenced off. In addition, several restaurants and shops on Main Street remain closed.

City officials on Friday said more than 1,000 structures have been tagged unsafe due to damage sustained from the 6.0-magnitude earthquake.

It has been a frustrating week for the owner of Velo Pizzeria -- building inspectors closed the restaurant on Thursday. Owner Lewis Chilton said he started the business nearly three weeks ago.

"For the last year we've been investing money in this business," Chilton said. "Our landlord has been investing money in this business."

Chilton is hopeful the restaurant will reopen soon so that he can start earning some of the money he has invested in opening the business back.

"It's a big weekend, a kick-off of the harvest of Napa Valley," he said. And it's important for our employees. It's a big weekend for them to make money too."

The city is hoping all the attention from the quake will help entice the tourists back.

Meanwhile, businesses depending on locals are suffering. A local deli said business is down 30 percent since the temblor hit and a hair salon reports a 70 percent drop this week.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[New Lululemon Store Celebrates Grand Opening]]> Tue, 26 Aug 2014 21:12:53 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Yoga-Generic.jpg

A new lululemon athletica store is opening at Fashion Valley Mall this weekend and the retailer plans to celebrate with plenty of free activities open to the public.

For starters, on Friday beginning at 10 a.m., the new 3,800-square-foot store will host a morning dance party with beats by DJ Jay and treats from Better Buzz Coffee and The Cravory.

On Saturday at 8:30 a.m., lululemon invites guests to get sweaty with brand ambassadors Theresa Larson and Ray Fernandez in Center Court. After the exercise session, attendees can refuel with Suja Juice and the Perfect Bar.

Finally, on Sunday at 9:30 a.m., guests are invited to throw on those yoga pants and attend a free yoga class in Center Court led by brand ambassador Andre Houle. After the workout, musician Jonny Tarr will play live music at the lululemon store.

The new, highly-anticipated lululemon location is on the second level of Fashion Valley Mall, between J. Crew and Sur La Table, and offers yoga and fitness apparel for both women and men.

When the store was first announced earlier this year, mall representatives said the retailer planned to host various healthy community events, including weekly complimentary yoga classes and goal-setting workshops.

Judging by the opening lineup of activities this weekend, the retailer will make good on this plan.

According to the lululemon website, the celebration of the new Fashion Valley store will continue on Sept. 7 at the Catamaran Resort in Pacific Beach with a “Sweat Life” event that includes paddleboarding, beach games, food and music.

<![CDATA[Local Eateries Unite for Bacon Fest]]> Tue, 26 Aug 2014 13:25:18 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/bacon-generic1.jpg

More than 20 local eateries will unite this Saturday for a tasty trifecta of hog wild fun that includes bacon, beer and bands at NTC Park Liberty Station.

From 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., Preble Field will turn into piggy paradise for the 2nd Annual Hormel Black Label Bacon Fest, a celebration dedicated to arguably the greatest meat of all time.

The sizzling shindig includes more than 20 San Diego eateries serving creative bacon-themed dishes, including South Paw Social Club’s “Elvis” sandwich, which combines peanut butter, banana and homemade bacon jam on grilled bread.

The Blind Burro will pig out with bacon ceviche, a mix of Applewood smoked bacon, avocado and pico de gallo with housemade chips. Meanwhile, Bub’s San Diego will represent with the ultimate carnivore treat: chicken wings wrapped with bacon.

Additional local restaurants set to participate in the porky party include Sublime Tavern, The Patio, Uptown Tavern, Crazee Burger and Slater’s 50/50 (click here for the full list).

Approximately 25 local breweries will also take part in the event, including Ballast Point, Mike Hess Brewing, Karl Strauss Brewing Co., The Lost Abbey, Mission Brewery and Stone Brewing Co.

Live tunes will be handled by 40 Oz. to Freedom, Cruz and The Routine.

General admission tickets cost $60 per person and include unlimited samples. VIP tickets can be purchased for $100.

Proceeds will benefit All About the Kids, a non-profit dedicated to enhancing the lives of children and families in need. For more details, visit the event website.